The Original Gatsby?

Mens sana in corpore sano or just insane?

Former Price Hill resident George Remus has been getting a lot of publicity recently, what with the airing of Ken Burn’s acclaimed “on-the-rocks-umentary”, Prohibition, and showing up in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  Some theorize Remus was the inspiration for Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby, and it’s easy to see why.  He was, like Gatsby, a bootlegger. He presented guests at lavish parties with diamond jewelry and cars.  That he met F. Scott Fitzgerald at the Seelbach Hotel in Louisville (the rathskeller of which sports Rookwood tile) is likely, and while a bartender at the Seelbach claims to possess a photo of Remus and Fitzgerald, I wonder if this isn’t legend, as well as the claim that the novel began there as notes on cocktail napkins.   Sounds like just the sort of mythology that comes to be under the influence of bourbon.   Fitzgerald frequented, and was apparently once forcefully ejected from the hotel while training to be deployed for WWI, not the sort of lifestyle conducive to the production of great literature–although this is, after all, Fitzgerald, so who knows?  Whatever the case, Remus was a truly epic American character, and his saga remains a fascinating read.  Here is a particularly pithy version on (scroll to the bottom and abandon all time, ye local history buffs who enter here).    -Ed Scripsi

Published in: on October 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Please tell me where you found this?!

  2. The photo, that is.

  3. Thanks for the Reply. But I was really wondering where ‘you’ got them from. Are they in the Mercantile? In a book or paper?

    Just curious.

  4. I have dozens of original George Remus photos. Also his wife, daughter, prosecutor Taft, his trial, etc. Even the one above.

  5. Hey James. You haven’t scanned any of them have you? And have them in digital format? I would love to see some.

  6. They currently are not digitized. Was considering on using them for a project in the future so I didn’t want to paste them all over the internet. I’ll look you up…wouldn’t mind letting you see them.

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